Hunstanton Spinney

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  • Creating a focal point and gathering space for the town.
  • Working in consultation with the local community.
  • Arboricultural expertise to save popular trees.
  • Heritage design of performance space.

Hunstanton is a Victorian resort town on the north coast of Norfolk. The local council (the Borough Council of King’s Lynn and West Norfolk) are seeking to secure and enhance its position as a commercial and leisure centre in the 21st century. As part of this a small open space at one end the High Street featuring a copse of sycamore and elm trees, Hunstanton Spinney, was identified for regeneration. The aim was to create a new gathering and event space in the heart of the town. Wynne-Williams Associates won the competition to design the scheme.

An earlier survey by the Council had indicated that some of the existing trees could be unsafe and their removal had been proposed.We led public consultation which made it clear that these trees were much loved by the community. Using our in-house arboricultural expertise, we worked with the Council’s tree officer on a scheme to make the trees safe which allowed them to be retained.

We designed a new performance space as the centrepiece of the scheme. This was surrounded by a curved wall of carrstone, a distinctive local sandstone used in the Parish Church and other buildings in the area. We worked with the Civic Society to collect images showing Hunstanton’s heritage and these were made into ceramic tiles which were embedded into the wall. Further information on the heritage aspect of the design was given in a brochure available from the Tourist Information Centre.The space has been designed as all-weather with a power supply to enable a range of events to take place around the year.

For the design to succeed in becoming a focal point for the town it needed to become a natural place for people to visit when they were in the area. As it stood, however, the Spinney was effectively cut off from the high street by traffic and car parking.We advised that a pedestrianised area be created to open up the link and this was taken up by the County Council.

The Spinney has been a great success and won the Mayor’s Design Award for the Borough Council of King’s Lynn and West Norfolk.Regular music and dance events and Christmas concerts have used the performance area to create a genuine new gathering place.

As a result of this project we were invited to undertake a much larger project in the same town: Hunstanton Heritage Gardens.

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